Man who fought cancer twice writes book to raise money for cancer research
Man pens book on experiences with disease to raise money for cancer research
Nowadays, even routine things like having breakfast with his two young children have taken on fresh meaning.
After facing two bouts of cancer, Mr Cayden Chang, 44, has learnt how to be "fully present", especially when spending time with his two daughters, who are eight and five.
He was also inspired to pen The Book Of Hope, in which he shares personal anecdotes about his battle with cancer.
The book was launched yesterday.
While the first encounter with cancer taught Mr Chang that life is short, the second encounter made him want to "soak it all in" when with his wife and children.
Mr Chang said: "When I play with my kids, a smile isn't just a smile. I pay attention to all the little things.
"Their eyes, mouth, teeth and their micro-expressions. I want to know and remember them all."
The director and founder of Mind Kinesis Management International, a personal development coaching company, first found out that he had stage 2 renal cancer in 2010 when doctors found a fist-sized tumour in his left kidney.
The operation to remove the affected kidney left him with a 30cm-long scar on his abdomen.
He thought that was the end of it.
But during a yearly check-up in 2014, doctors found two more tumours, one on his left urinary tract and the other on his bladder.
The surgery left him with another scar, this time 25cm long.
Doctors had warned Mr Chang then that the next two years carry the highest risk of a possible relapse of the cancer cells.
The thought of a third brush with the disease scares him.
But it also inspired him to write the book, which includes how he watched his mother die of lung cancer in 1997.
Mr Cayden Chang's second encounter with cancer inspired him to write 'The Book Of Hope', which tells of his experiences with the disease, including watching his late mother battle terminal-stage lung cancer in 1997. TNP PHOTO: EDWIN FONG
Author Pearlin Siow, 39, who helped to edit the book, said: "I hope this book can bring hope to cancer patients and let them know that cancer isn't a life sentence."
Thirty-seven people here are diagnosed with cancer every day, said a Singapore Cancer Registry report in 2014.
Ms Siow said: "It's amazing how Cayden still remains positive. He's a fighter and nothing gets him down."
The book launch last night raised slightly more than $14,000 for the Singapore Cord Blood Bank.
Mr Chang hopes to raise another $20,000 for the National Cancer Centre for cancer research from the 2,000 books on sale .
He said: "I hope this book can encourage cancer patients to cling on to hope, which for me is my wife and children."
While he admits he is scared of dying and "that day will come", he chooses to park those thoughts aside and focus on living life.
"I try to keep myself occupied and focus on work and things that I can do instead of what I cannot change. I also choose to help others as it gives my life meaning."
Mr Chang and his wife, Madam Aw Boon Ling, 38, have yet to explain his condition to their children because he thinks that they might be too young to understand.
Madam Aw, a project manager, said: "When cancer happens to someone so close to you, you learn not to take things for granted.
"When your loved ones suffer, it's painful to watch. You can't fully understand the pain they go through, but you can be by their side to offer comfort."
One of Mr Chang's biggest wishes is to continue living a "simple" and "routine" life with his family, as he knows that he is living on borrowed time.
Mr Chang said: "Waking up late, having meals together at home and going to the park to watch my daughters play and laugh.
"It's nothing spectacular, but just living this simple routine every day until my daughters grow up is enough."
Right now, it feels like I am on a 'tourist visa' and living on a two-month stamp on the passport of my life.
- Mr Chang, in a quote from his book, on how he now goes for check-ups every two months at the National Cancer Centre and breathes a sigh of relief every time his results come back clear
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Book Of Hope
$25 before GST
WHERE TO BUY:
Kinokuniya at Takashimaya